Idyllic Destination

Fairmont le Montreux Palace: History and Modernity on the Banks of Lake Geneva

Nicholas Sterling

The luxurious hotel opened in 1906 and continues to deliver the best European tradition and service to its guests.

Montreux, also known as the “Pearl of the Swiss Riviera,” is a city with a captivating landscape and lush nature. It also offers a great variety of winter sports, as well as music festivals and art exhibitions.

Located between the northern shore of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps, Montreux stands out for the high quality of life of its residents, evident in the luxurious mansions that dot the shore.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the town became a place of pilgrimage for personages such as Lord Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley, Leo Tolstoy, and Hans Christian Andersen, among others. More recently it was home to Freddy Mercury, leader of the band Queen, who in 1991 recorded his latest album: Made in Heaven in this attractive city. As a tribute, a statue of Mercury was erected by the lake.

In such an affluent destination, it seems only natural to find a hotel like the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, which exudes grandeur and refinement. Located in an excellent natural environment, it is a Belle Époque treasure. It opened in 1906 and continues to deliver the best European tradition and comfort in its 236 rooms and suites, luxuriously decorated and equipped with the latest technologies.

Guests can enjoy pleasant dining experiences at the various of the hotel’s restaurants, including MP’S Bar & Grill, the Funky Claude Bar, the Lounge and the Terrasse du Petite Palais.

There are also facilities designed to relax body and soul, like the Willow Stream Spa, with Jacuzzis, steam room, sauna and two swimming pools.

In the main entrance of the original building there is a large hall with columns, crystal chandeliers and large frescoes, and next door, a reminder of times past with antique objects and photographs of former hotel guests, such as the writer Vladimir Nabokov, who spent most of his life here with his wife Vera, in the suite number 65 on the sixth floor. During his stay, the author of Lolita wrote Ada or The Ardor and some other works, until 1977 when he died in a hospital in Lausanne, and his ashes were buried in the cemetery of Clarens, near the hotel.

Vera continued living in Fairmont until 1991. Some of the employees still remember the couple sitting in one of the garden benches, quietly watching the lake, or walking along the shore holding hands.

Actor Peter Ustinov also lived on the top floor of the hotel in 1962, while filming the film Lolita directed by Stanley Kubrick. Every day Ustinov called Nabokov to inform him about the filming process, whose script was written by the Russian author.

There is probably no better accommodation around Montreux than the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, a historic jewel that has managed to reach the 21st century with the class and savoir-faire with which it began just over one hundred years ago.

© | 2019